Rarely in the history of this republic has hypocrisy been a public policy position. As Rochfoucaud noted hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays virtue. But suppose virtue has nothing to do with it. Suppose hypocrisy becomes a way to deceive and deflect criticism.
Independence Day marked a major event in Israel’s history: A 65th Anniversary, a day of pomp, ceremony and remembrance. But it is also a day to take stock of Israel’s strategic position in the Middle East. Despite the relative calm, there are storm clouds on the horizon.
The two Boston bombers were born in Dagestan and despite their alleged grievance over the treatment of Chechens, never lived there. For law enforcement officials and counter-terror experts this radical view that inspired their heinous act is a conundrum. Even President Obama asked plaintively, “Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?”
For meta-historians who take the long view, e.g. Arnold Toynbee, there is the emergence of a “looming global peace” that is gaining acceptance in the corridors of Academe. It is predicated on the belief that we are nearing a point in history where war as we know it has disappeared. Presumably the world is becoming safe and secure with few violent conflicts. Moreover, the United States faces no plausible existential threats or great power rivalry. This is the unvarnished theme at its most basic level.
It is difficult to know if MOOC’s (Massive Open On-line Courses) are a conspiracy to undermine the Academy or mankind’s final redemption, a way to open the avenues of higher education. However one sees it, millions of people are already taking on-line courses. There is a revolution taking place driven by technology and cost controls. Where it will end up is anyone’s guess, but ultimately the success of this innovation will depend on measured competencies.
If one wants to understand what happens in world affairs when the U.S. sits on the sidelines unsure of its role and even its interest, Syria is an excellent case study. Now that a civil war has struck every corner of that country, Bashar Assad and his military force have killed at least 70,000 people, many rebels and may innocent bystanders.
Legislators in the tax-haven island of Cyprus have rejected the draconian bank deposit tax defying German leader Angela Merkel. While the protestors danced in the street after the vote, this could be a pyrric victory. President Putin threatened to withdraw a $3.2 billion loan if the Merkel proposal were embraced, a condition that might have influenced the final tally.
The baseball gods regard spring training as a time of renewal. There aren’t any losses. All teams have the same record and players abound in hope for the future. Young pitchers are promising and Las Vegas odds are meaningless. Baseball heaven has angels dancing over the outfield.
The barrier between barbarism and civilization is gossamer-thin, a layer of taboos that separates mankind from its base nature. An impulse to ascend is most often pushed into the armory of descent.
Nowhere was this more apparent than the recent Grammy Awards for musical “excellence.” Here were the half literate providing referential status to the half talented. Most of what I heard is dissonance. It was as if music is faintly related to the sounds emerging from electrified instruments.